Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I would like to share with you a billboard image I came across recently. No pictures were featured on the billboard, just the simple text:

Loved the wedding; invite me to the marriage.
- God

It's been over ten years since I wedded my soulmate; the champagne is gone, the guests went home and what was left of the wedding cake was placed in our freezer for years to come... but the marriage goes on. It is a marriage immersed in and packed with love and sprinkled with dirty diapers, loads of laundry, greasy dishes, occasionally sick children, inhaled meals and endless vacuuming. And finally it's topped with occasional disagreements, temperamental moods (that would be my share) and popcorn every other night. But looking back each on our adventures, Di and I would both say that it's been a great marriage so far.

Research surrounding marriage identified two points in a marriage when the couple is more prone to divorce: (1) within the first two years and (2) when the children head off to college and/or leave home. So if you're lucky enough to make it past the first two years, the remaining years seem to be consumed by the well-being of your children, at least until they leave home. It seems much of our energy and focus these days are on our 8-year-old son and 2 1/2-year-old triplets - and rightfully so. But there also needs to be some time and space wedged into all of that where God can enter in.

As a stay-at-home-play-at-home father (whose wife travels 2-3 days a week), I most assuredly need to have God near - to remind me that my oldest son is still an 8-year-old boy and the triplets (even on their worst terrible-twos days) are gifts. It's not that I forget, it's just that the day becomes a frenzied list of tasks to accomplish... day after day after day... and a friendly reminder is always nice.

If you were like Di and I, you spent (are spending or planning to spend) quite a bit of time planning for your wedding: selecting the appropriate church and ambiance, the special readings, the priest and minister, etc. It was a moment so special that God had to be focal point in the midst of it all. And after the wedding decorations are taken down and the wedding gown packed away, where did God end up? In a Bible stand near your living room couch or at the weekly Sunday morning service?

If you are a parent (or planning to become one), then you understand even more so the importance of centering God in the midst of all your activities: meal prayers, evening prayers, family celebrations, Christmas, holidays, Easter, teaching the lessons of Life to your children, etc. As a father of stay-at-home triplets, there are some days when I know the day would have been much more difficult without His presence in our home.

For all of you who are celebrating Valentine's Day with your significant other, I share with you the words that were shared with my wife Di and I at our Engaged Encounter Weekend: "Be sure to settle for (marry) a Number One... and place God between you and your spouse."

It would be unfortunate to invite Him to the beginning of the story and not share all the chapters that are to follow.